I was thinking this past weekend about what Easter means to me and to our little family.
I remembered my childhood Easters. They always involved going to church, sometimes as early as dawn, and eating a hearty meal, often with extended family.
One year my aunt gave us chocolate bunnies which constituted the largest slabs of the stuff I’d ever seen. Is it weird that I still remember the taste and smell of them?
How we celebrated was never hugely ritualistic or consistent but there was a definite focus on the message of the crucifixion and the resurrection.
This year has been a bit different for me. For one thing, I’ve married into a family with much stronger, more deeply held traditions. I’m surprised my in-laws didn’t have us go on an egg hunt like they have in years past.
There is something comforting about tradition. The decorated eggs, the exchange of chocolate (another thing we’re not big on in Trinidad – at least not when I was growing up), the hunt, the lamb and so on.
I even find that as I get older, I have a much greater appreciation for the Anglican liturgy, something I was repelled by in my school days (I went to an Anglican secondary school in Trinidad).
Maybe it’s the poetry of it. I think there’s also something mysterious and unifying about uttering words of worship spoken by thousands of believers over the centuries. It’s as if, despite our differences, the faith connects us.
This is something else that made this Easter different for me. Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday has always been a time of reflection and personal meditation for me. Every year I’ve made an extra effort to get alone with God and really contemplate what the cross means in my life.
This year I felt unfocused. I mentioned before that I’ve been struggling to find God in the nappy bin. The truth is, I haven’t particularly looked for Him.
It’s a bit of a paradox because these past ten months I have needed Him more than I’ve ever needed Him. Indiscipline has led to distraction which has led to frustration which has led to doubt which has led to sadness. Yet I’m pretty sure He has been here. He has held me together even when I’ve not sought Him.
My faith has always existed with doubt. As an adult, I’ve not considered that a negative thing. It is human to doubt. God is bigger than my doubts.
This Easter too I realised how much I’ve claimed this country as my own. Laurence’s cousin asked in a conversation about visas why we want to live here in the cold. We may eventually live in Trinidad, I suppose, but for now England is our home.
How strange to call it that – home. It denotes a certain familiarity, affection and even a sense of belonging.
Easter time means something different when you live in a climate where there are four seasons. You watch the world die and come to life again.
I was looking out into the countryside yesterday morning (we were staying with my in-laws) and suddenly it hit me. That’s what Easter signifies. Love is strong enough to choose death and still come to life again.
What I’m aching for is a route to falling in love again. The fact that I ache means the foundations of love are there.
I want Talitha’s memories of Easter to be filled with the knowledge that she is loved – so wholly, so deeply, so mysteriously loved.